When Facebook acquired Oculus VR last month, mass hysteria ensued. Gaming experts unanimously disapproved Facebook’s $2 billion takeover of the virtual reality specialists. Some developers went to such an extent that they cancelled the compatible video games which were previously announced for the Oculus Rift.
While all were busy deriding the move, no one thought about the other non-gaming uses of this upcoming VR headset. One such story is that of a cancer patient named Roberta Firstenberg, who loved going outside her house and walking in her garden but couldn't due to her failing health.
This is where the Rift came into play and fulfilled a dying woman desire. Roberta's granddaughter Priscilla used her connections in the gaming industry to obtain an unreleased Oculus display. She then programmed the Oculus Tuscany demo into the one that made her grandmother get the feeling of walking again – all thanks to the Rift.
Her last few months were spent gliding around a virtual Tuscan villa. But her time wasn’t just spent in Tuscany, thanks to her granddaughter; Roberta got a taste of other cities from around the world too.
More virtual experiments of the kind were in the works when Roberta's condition worsened, and she sadly passed away.
Roberta’s story should act as an eye opener. Her story should also change the thinking of those who want to pigeonhole Oculus Rift and other VR headset into the video game industry. The Rift's scope extends far beyond video games and into the actual real world.
For a start, it can revolutionize the way we interact with each other through social networking. Since Mark Zuckerburg and his pals over at Facebook know a thing or two about their niche, maybe we should keep an open mind and let them do their thing before going all mega-critical on him.